As Nike Sales Fall in China, Competitors Cash In

    • Nike sales on Tmall dropped 59% in the last year.
    • Li Ning and Anta, Chinese sportswear brands, are cashing in.

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Nike’s numbers appear to be sliding in China as consumers boycott international brands that have taken a stand against the treatment of Muslim Uyghurs in the country’s Xinjiang region.

Alibaba’s Tmall, China’s largest business-to-consumer e-commerce platform, saw online Nike sales decline 59% year-over-year in April, according to financial services firm Morningstar.

Adidas sales on Tmall were down 78% year-over-year in April , though overall sales in China rose 156% in Q1 2021 as stores reopened.

Chinese competitors are capitalizing on the boycotts. Anta Sports revenue reached $8.5 billion in FY2020 and retail sales increased 25% year-over-year in Q4. 

Li Ning, another Chinese sportswear maker, might be benefitting the most.

  • Online sales in April grew 815% year-over-year.
  • The company’s fashion arm, China Li Ning, saw Tmall sales jump 419% between April 27 and May 3, compared to the same period in 2020.
  • Shares hit a record high in Hong Kong on Friday, climbing 52% since March 24.

Both Anta and Li Ning are reportedly in the running to buy Reebok from adidas. Reebok was acquired for $3.8 billion in 2006 and is now valued at about $1.2 billion.

Morningstar analyst Ivan Su said Chinese consumers’ attitude toward certain American brands is “most likely temporary” and that “consumer boycotts against Nike and adidas will most likely fade over the next months.”